Stephanie (Penny) Townsend will succeed Ellen Moceri as head of school at Ransom Everglades School next year, the private preparatory school announced Friday.
After leading the Coconut Grove school for 13 years, Moceri will retire at the end of this school year. Founded in 1903, Ransom has 1,165 students split between its middle and upper school campuses.
Townsend, currently head of school at the Pennington School in New Jersey, cited Miami-Dade’s diverse community and Moceri’s work in establishing Ransom as a premier private school as some of her reasons for taking the position that she will assume on July 1, 2014.
“It is regarded as one of the outstanding independent schools in the nation,” Townsend said in a statement. She added that the offer, a unanimous decision by an 11-member search committee of faculty, administrators, parents, alumni and trustees, was the “most thrilling opportunity of my life.”
Prior to her work at Pennington, Townsend’s 23-year career included several key positions at the Taft School in Watertown, Conn. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1979 with a bachelor’s in History, specializing in Latin American Studies, and earned her master’s at Middlebury College in Vermont in Spanish Language and Literature.
Moceri has worked as an educator in independent schools for 48 years. Her accomplishments at Ransom have included a complete renovation of the middle school campus, a new Aquatic Center at the upper school campus and boosting the school’s endowment from $8 million to more than $25 million.
Moceri, who will be 71 when she leaves Ransom, plans to retire to St. Louis with her husband.
— HOWARD COHEN